(WEST REHOBOTH - Del.) - "This is an exciting new chapter in Delaware's history," says Timothy Slavin, Delaware's director of Historical and Cultural Affairs.
Archeologists uncovered an unmarked 17th Century burial site in West Rehoboth. The site has been named Avery's Rest, since the land was originally owned by Sara and John Avery. John was a judge in Lewes when the colony transitioned from Dutch to English rule.
Eleven coffins were found on the property. Eight of the skeletons were believed to belong to people of European descent, and three were believed to belong to African slaves.
"When we bring people into the museum we want them to know the extent of African American contributions to the growth and development of the state," says Angela Winand, Head of the Mitchell Center for African American Heritage at the Delaware Historical Society.
Skeletons like this are rare because the bones are still in such good condition. Researchers plan to identify who these people were.
"The opportunity to do the genetic testing we're doing, that in conjunction with the isotopes, in conjunction with the forensic analysis, all of that, merged with the genealogy, we're gonna be naming these people," says Dr. Douglas Owsley from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.